Congressmen warn sequestration will cause military readiness cri - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Congressmen warn sequestration will cause military readiness crisis

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The budget impact on Texas military installations is expected to top $2 billion. Friday morning two Central Texas congressmen were at Fort Hood to announce a plan to help top bass managed the cuts.

Congressman John Carter said budget negotiators just can't seem to pull the trigger on any type of budget deal. So he's taking a shot not at an overall solution but one to help those in uniform.

With the largest military installation in the nation as their back drop Congressmen John Carter and Roger Williams declared war on the budget impasse.

Carter says he will introduce a hybrid continuing budget resolution. It would fund federal agencies this year at current reduced levels, while allowing the department of defense to have more flexibility in how it spends those dollars.

"There's still going to be cuts, but those cuts allow them to rearrange their money," Carter said.

"I look at the big picture, there's a lot of other Departments that might be able to take a little bigger cut than putting the burden of Sequestration on the military," Williams said.

Carter and Williams say the budget crisis will create a military readiness crisis.

Reductions at Fort Hood will almost $300 million. Six thousand civilian employees would be furloughed up to 22 days without pay and 208 contractors, mostly part-time workers are expected to lose their jobs.

The targets for immediate cuts include airfield operations, fire and EMS as well as family services.

The command staff is still working on a list of who and what to cut. It could be a lot of things from supplies for the horses on post to how often the grass gets cut this spring. Not knowing is adding a lot of stress on military families. Nettie McCraney, who married a solider and worked in the VA, offered this suggestion.

"Get off their butt and try to pass this stuff 'cause there's a lot of people out there that is going to be hurt by all of this - and their stalling and they need get it together up there," said McCraney.

A community wide economic ripple effect is also expected. Benny Segura and Lourni Matthias came to listen to the congressmen Friday morning. They manage local apartments that cater to contractors and off-base personnel.

"We're fighting this battle with one hand tied behind or backs I think we need more answers now we've got plenty of questions - we need the answers to our questions," said Segura.

Those working on construction projects like the new medical center will not be affected by the budget cuts. They've already been funded but future projects are in jeopardy of being put on hold.

The job furloughs are not expected to start until sometime in April because of labor agreements. 

There are several federal programs that are exempt from this budget crisis. Some of those Programed identified in a Congressional Research Report include:

  • Social Security
  • Medicaid
  • Veterans Programs
  • Federal Retirement Benefits
  • Child Nutrition-such as school lunch & breakfast programs 
  • Food Stamps
  • College Pell Grants
  • Military  Paychcks

To view the full report click here.

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